Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Grilled Chicken Salad with Pears and Almonds


This salad is so fresh and crisp and the diced pears were just sweet enough to give it some extra flavor. My chicken was seared quickly so that the inside was just moist and fork tender. This is a keeper! 

Grilled Chicken Salad with Pears and Almonds

 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
 3 garlic cloves, crushed
 1 lemon, squeezed
 3 tablespoons of olive oil
 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
 2 small cans of pear halves, diced
 1/2 cup of sliced almonds, roasted
 1 small carrot, sliced
 1 bag of spring mix salad greens

In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, olive oil and oregano until well combined. Add the crushed garlic. Place the chicken breasts into a Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the chicken in the bag. Tightly close the bag and shake to make sure the marinade is well distributed. Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least one hour or up to overnight.

Set a grill pan on medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Once the grill pan is hot, add the chicken breast to the pan, discarding any leftover marinade. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Leave untouched for about 4 minutes, turn over and season again. Cook for another 4 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a large pan on medium heat, add the sliced almonds in one layer. Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to do this in batches. Stir frequently and cook the almonds until they are just golden brown. Keep a constant eye on the pan as the almonds will quickly go from golden brown to burnt. Remove from the heat and reserve.
In your serving bowl, add the mixed greens. Slice the chicken breasts and add to the salad. Drain the pears, dice and add them in. Add additional almonds before serving if desire. Serve with your favorite Vinaigrette or dressing. My favorite is my Asian dressing. 

Oriental Dressing

3 tablespoons honey
 1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
 1/4 cup mayonnaise
 1 teaspoon Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil

Blend all ingredients in a small bow with electric mixer until smooth. Chill in refrigerator until read for use.

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Pasta With Broccoli And Sun-dried Tomatoes

Always a big hit at any gathering.  I love the fresh broccoli and the sweetness of the sun dried tomatoes.  So easy to make and so delicious!  There's never any left!

Pasta With Broccoli And Sun-dried Tomatoes 

1 pound rotini pasta
1 medium sized broccoli crown, cut into bite sized florets
1 small onion, minced
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, rough chop
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of oil from jar of tomatoes
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 2 tablespoons of pasta water.  When pasta is done, drain and return to warm pot with heat off.

Meanwhile, place broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl with 3 tablespoons water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 5 minutes, or until tender. Remove and set aside.
In the pasta pot, add the sun dried tomatoes along with 1 teaspoon of the oil from the jar.  Add the onion and garlic and toss well.  Add pasta water as needed to create an evenly-distributed sauce.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve warm.

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Monday, June 07, 2021

Mom's Peaches and Cream Pie

I've been trying to re-create my Mom's Peaches and Cream pie for years. It is one of the best pies you've ever tasted with sweet peaches nestled in a creamy vanilla custard, cradled in a rich, buttery, and flaky crust.  I can get the pie crust right and the rich vanilla custard tastes just like my Mom's.  The problem is I just can't seem to turn out a pretty pie like she did. Her pie was absolutely beautiful every time she made it. Even so, it is so delicious and still one of my favorite of all the pies she ever made.

Mom's Peaches and Cream Pie

Basic Pie Crust

1-1/2 cup Crisco (vegetable Shortening)
3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 whole egg
5 Tablespoons Cold Water
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt

In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, gradually work the Crisco into the flour for about 3 or 4 minutes until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Separate the dough into thirds. Form 3 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough into a large Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (about ½ inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using it immediately it’s still a good idea to put in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill.)

When you are ready to use the dough to make a crust, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes. On a floured surface roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top of the dough if it’s a bit too moist.) If the dough is sticking to the counter top use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until it’s about ½ inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.

With a spatula, lift the dough carefully from the surface of the counter into the pie pan. Gently press the dough against the corner of the pan. Go around the pie pan pinching and tucking the dough to make a clean edge.


8 large ripe but firm peaches
2 tablespoons of sugar for peaches
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Peel peaches with a vegetable peeler using the serrated edge. Slice peaches in half horizontally and remove the pit. Place them face side up and sprinkle sugar on the top of each one. Use more sugar if needed. Bake in 375 degree oven for 15 minutes and then flip peaches over. Continue to bake on other side.

While peaches are baking for the first 15 minutes, prepare your pie crust or use a frozen deep dish refrigerated pie crust. Cut a circle of parchment paper to cover bottom and add pie weights on top. I use beans to weight down my pie crusts. Bake pie crust in oven at the same time you are ready to flip the peaches over and bake on the second side for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and lift the parchment paper with pie weights from the crust. Cut peaches in half and place in a circle all around the outside of the crust and in the middle. Turn down the oven to only 325 degrees while you make the custard.

In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of sugar, flour, salt, cream, vanilla and egg yolks mix with wooden spoon or whisk until smooth. Pour custard all over the peaches. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes or until custard is set. Cool completely before slicing. 

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